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Reincarnation and Punishment

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Reincarnation is punishment not a learning process?

Recently someone said, reincarnation - this sounds like a kind of punishment. I do something and getting punished. So, people seem to have problems to understand that this material world exists because of we created it with our own material desires. Incapable to see any cause for our conditioned life? Incorrigible prisoner who can't understand that it was he himself who brought himself into this position?




"We have rebelled against the supremacy of the Personality of Godhead. That is conditioned life. There are so many theses to support this rebellious condition. Somebody is thinking that “I am one with God”; somebody is thinking, “God is dead”; somebody is thinking, “There is no God”; somebody is thinking, “Why you are searching God? There are so many Gods loitering in the street.” So in this way many theses are there. All of them are different symptoms of rebellious condition. The sum and substance… Just like atheists, they are boldly saying, “There is no God.” Now…, but the impersonalists saying, “There may be God, but He has no head, He has no tail. That’s all.” So in this way our condition is rebellious condition. Therefore Bhagavad-gītā instructs that “You surrender.” Sarva- dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]. So without surrender, there is no question of making any spiritual progress. Just like a person who has rebelled against the government—the first condition is to surrender; otherwise there is no question of mercy from the government. Similarly anyone, the living entity, any one of us who has rebelled against the supremacy of the Lord, the beginning of spiritual life is surrender.So this mantra, initiation, namaḥ. Namaḥ means surrender. And who can surrender? Surrender, one who has understood the Lord, he can surrender, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate [Bg. 7.19]. After many, many births of cultivation of knowledge, when one is perfectly wise, at that time he surrenders. The perfection of acquiring knowledge, or wisdom, is to surrender. So, namaḥ. Namaḥ means “I surrender.” And what is your condition? Never mind what is that condition. Apavitraḥ pavitro vā. Apavitraḥ means contaminated, and pavitra means liberated. So we have two conditions. Either… Just like either we are healthy or we are diseased. There is no third condition. Crude example. Similarly, the living entities, they have two conditions. One condition is liberation, another condition is contaminated. Therefore living entity is called marginal, in between contamination and liberation. Either a living entity can be contaminated or liberated. There is no third condition. Therefore this mantra says, apavitraḥ pavitro vā. Either contaminated or liberated, it doesn’t matter. Oṁ namo apavitraḥ pavitro, sarvāvasthām. Sarva means all; avasthām means condition. In any condition. Sarvāvasthāṁ gato ’pi vā. In whatever condition you may be."


Talk, Initiation Lecture,

and Ten Offenses Lecture

by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

Los Angeles, December 1, 1968

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